A federal judge in Austin has dismissed a lawsuit filed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking that the new state law banning 'Sanctuary Cities' be declared legal and constitutional, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks also rejected a request by Paxton that the main case challenging what is called SB4 be moved from San Antonio to Austin, insuring that U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio will issue the main ruling on the fate of the law, presumably before it is scheduled to take effect September 1.
“America’s federal judiciary has shown the State of Texas that it does not heed the call of pandering politicians time and again," said State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin). "As policy chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, I am confident that Judge Sparks' ruling is but the first victory we will win against this blatantly discriminatory law.”
SB4 includes criminal penalties against police chiefs, sheriffs, and other city officials who decline to cooperate with federal immigration law, and who refuse to hold illegal immigrants in county jails under what are called 'detainer requests.' The law also allows police officers to inquire about the immigration status of a person they pull over for a traffic violation, something that has been mocked as the 'papers please!' law.
San Antonio and Bexar County have both joined the main lawsuit against SB4, which was heard in San Antonio last month.
Paxton says he will 'continue fighting for Senate Bill 4.'
“The health, safety, and welfare of Texans is not negotiable. We’re disappointed with the court’s ruling and look forward to pressing our winning arguments in the San Antonio cases and beyond (if necessary) on this undoubtedly constitutional law," Paxton said.
The bill banning Sanctuary Cities was one of the priorities of Gov. Abbott in the recently completed Regular Session of the Legislature.